CWN - As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his crackdown, assuming unprecedented powers through a state of emergency and suspending adherence to a human rights treaty, one of the nation’s bishops said that Catholics are safe because they stay out of politics.

“All the current difficulties are linked to political events, and we don’t touch such issues or take any part in demonstrations,” Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez told Catholic News Service. “Thanks to this, our Church’s members are safe.”

In April, the 63-year-old Franciscan, who hails from Mexico and ministered in El Paso, Rome, and Turkey, was named the Latin-rite apostolic vicar of Istanbul and apostolic administrator of the nation’s Greek Catholics. A curial prelate, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, ordained him a bishop on June 11.

“Of course, we’re not happy about what’s happened, but we’ll continue to encourage and support our faithful,” Bishop Tierrablanca added. “We hope the situation will improve without bringing us further troubles, but there are problems here which can’t be tackled in a short time.”

Turkey is 99.8% Sunni Muslim, and only 47,000 of the nation’s 75 million people are Catholic.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom. 

St. Macarius the Great